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Whitland and Cardigan Railway

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Title: Whitland and Cardigan Railway  
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Subject: Cardigan, Ceredigion, List of constituents of the Great Western Railway, Whitland railway station, Slate industry in Wales
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Whitland and Cardigan Railway

Whitland and Cardigan Railway

The Whitland & Cardigan Railway was a 14.5 miles (23.3 km) long Great Western Railway built branch railway line in West Wales, between Whitland on the West Wales Line and Cardigan, via nine intermediate stations.[1]



John Owen was the owner of the slate quarry in Glogue,[2] who wanted to make higher profits by improving his distribution chain. Owen sponsored the surveying and navigating of the line, which was developed and approved by Parliament under title of the Whitland & Taf Vale Railway. Resultantly, the line was opened in two stages from Cardigan Junction, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Whitland to Llanfyrnach on 24 March 1873, connecting with the quarry. This allowed Owen to expand his workforce to over 80 men. After selling it to a local consortia, the quarry was worked until 1926.[3]


The line was further extended to Crymmych Arms in October 1874. In 1877 the name was changed to the Whitland & Cardigan Railway and the extension to Cardigan opened on 1 September 1886, to a site on the south of the River Teifi. The Great Western Railway took over the working as of that date and three locomotives were added to stock although the complete undertaking was not purchased until 1890.


The line was noted for its rural nature, with the railway passing through small centres of population, with attractive scenery and over severe gradients.[2] All trains going north stopped at Glogue to take on water, before attempting the climb to Crymmych and beyond to the summit towards Boncath.[2] For many in the area, the line was the focus of the local community, gaining the nickname the Cardi Bach.[2]


The proposal to close the line actually came the year before the notorious Beeching Axe, marking a change in a whole way of life and the end of an era. The line was closed to passenger traffic on 8 September 1962, the last train being the 5.45pm Cardigan Mail. For a while the line remained open to freight traffic, but final closure took place on the 27th May 1963. The track was lifted completely by the end of 1964. The stations at Crymmych and Cardigan initially remained open as non-rail connected freight terminals, but this was also short lived.[1]


The trackbed in the main is reasonably intact today, with most having been sold off although small scale development has taken place at some locations, such as at Llanfalteg and Cardigan station sites. Today, a local Welsh language newspaper uses the nickname of the line, "Cardi Bach".

In September 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of the line's closure, an exhibition was held by the local historical society at the site of the former Llanfalteg station, where a slate plaque was placed to remember the line by.[2]


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